Posted in Activities, Music

Dictate to your “secretary” #atozchallenge

Last week I introduced the song, “If you’re happy and you know it” to one of my classes but we didn’t go over the whole song line by line, only the actions lines. This time I wanted them to learn the lines so that I don’t have to sing alone (I’m shy).

I read about this exercise a while back and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since.

1. Make pairs

2. One is seated, the “secretary”. The other will be the “messenger”.

3. Place text where the “secretary” can’t see it. The “messenger” will go, read the text, go back to the “secretary,” who writes it down.

4. Repeat as many times as needed.

My plan was to use this approach to get the lines down.

Well, didn’t I think wrong.

Obstacle 1: get the kids understand what we’re about to do.

The language barrier sometimes crashes down on me like a concrete wall, impenetrable no matter how hard I try. It took too long to get through this time and they’ve lost interest by the time they understood it. 

Obstacle 2: arrange the classroom so that we can suitably carry out the exercise.

I’ve a small classroom that doesn’t allow many alternatives so the setup to push 2 desks together made too big a distance for the kids to talk over.

Obstacle 3: find the balance between strict enough to follow the rules but not too strict to spoil the fun.

It comes naturally to some but I struggle with it. A pair tried to make the “messenger” write (but the point was that both took part with different sensors). Another “secretary” simply moved closer to the wall to be able to see the text himself. I had to stop both for the purpose of learning and they weren’t too happy about it.

It took them 10 minutes to write about the first verse and if you remember the song you know it repeats the same 2 lines three times so I would’ve expected it to be quicker.

Maybe the next time when the exercise won’t be completely new?

Still, the singing was better. I brought the song this time as an MP3 and the kids joined in the singing enthusiastically so that was a good end to the class at least 🙂


In April I set myself a challenge to use more music when teaching English. I passionately believe in the power of music to make everything better and I want to motivate my students to feel more relaxed, and at the same time more inspired about learning English. I’m sure it’ll be a journey with ups and downs! 😉


Most jobs, if not require but at least work better with humour. Have you ever felt or seen that the balance between immediate productivity and joy is hard to find? What did you do, what’s your advice for this teacher who wants her students both learn and have fun?

Please visit one of my other blogs, The Script Bible where I share beautiful picture quotes from The Script songs. 

Today’s featured blogger is Vidya, fellow member of D Company. She’s blogging from Bangalore from FOUR blogs, bless her productive fingers! Give her some cheering on, visit her here!

Thank you for visiting!



My soul breathes music and exhales words.

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